Amanda Kim, A Rising Star in the Private Equity World
An interview with Amanda Kim, Vice President at Avante Capital Partners
With venture capital firms largely being a “boy’s club” for years, it’s refreshing to see a woman like Amanda Kim in such a high-level position at Avante Capital Partners. As Vice President, Amanda is responsible for all aspects of the investment process. This includes sourcing, due diligence, transaction structuring, and portfolio management.
In a recent Zoom interview, Amanda explained how she ended up in the finance world, what her day-to-day looks like, and her thoughts on the current state of the industry.
“I had initially wanted to either be President of the United States or a pastor or a high school math teacher,” said Amanda with a laugh. While she didn’t end up becoming president (or any of the other things on that list), she did find herself drawn to the world of finance and investing, where she says, “I like to think that I get to employ different aspects of that in my job.”
Prior to joining Avante, Amanda worked at Goldman Sachs in the Alternative Investments & Manager Selection group. It was there that she first developed an interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments, which are increasingly shaping the landscape of the finance world.
She says what surprised her was how critical soft skills, such as communication and emotional intelligence, are in the industry. “I think the first surprise is that soft skills are much more important than I would have thought,” she said.
“You spread the numbers. You have your financial observations, but when you walk into a management meeting, you don’t say, why was your business down 15% last year, and your margins got cut from 25 to 15%? This is their baby. We’re normally working on founder-owned businesses. They have invested their hopes and their dreams, and you need to have the [emotional intelligence quotient] EQ to understand that,” she added.
She says a woman can be herself and still succeed in the private equity world, but it’s essential to be aware of the challenges that come with being a minority in the industry.
“A lot of people in private equity have worked hard to get to where they are and feel like they have to be tough on the outside,” she said.
“But I’ve taken the opposite approach, where I think life is hard enough, particularly as a woman, particularly as a mom, this is not an easy industry… The last thing I want to do is spend time trying to come up with a fake persona and be tough on the outside. I’m just going to tell you what’s going on with my life, which may work for some people and may not for others. But that, to me, I think has helped. That’s just my natural inclination, but I think it has also helped in my relationship building because people can see that I’m genuine,” she added.
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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect